Last updated on October 17th, 2023 at 07:34 pmReading Time: 4 minutes
I have read much on Twitter this week about Police Now and how they have contributed to the world of Policing. I was particularly taken with their response to a conversation on Twitter regarding their collection of certain socio-economic data as part of their selection process.
In the interest of fairness I reproduce the relevant thread in its entirety
Recently there has been some discussion about some of the questions asked in the early stages of our recruitment process. This is a thread by Police Now’s CEO Dave Spencer….1/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
We ask questions about people’s background so that we can track the data to make sure that we are not inadvertently disadvantaging any particular groups in the assessment process. 2/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
This is done by many organisations in their recruitment process. We do this because we are committed to finding the best and most diverse group of people to join the policing frontline. 3/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
This year, of those who were successful in their application to the programme: 53% were the first in their family to go to university, 14% received free school meals (compared to 13.6% of the population as a whole)….. 4/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
….54% are women, and 20% are Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background (compared to 13% of the UK population). 5/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
Over the last five years Police Now has recruited and trained over 630 police officers. 90% of them are still serving as police officers. 6/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
They are working hard alongside their many dedicated colleagues to make a difference by arresting suspects, protecting the vulnerable, and doing their best to solve the problems that blight their local communities.7/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
I’m proud of them and am grateful for the work that they and their colleagues are doing in what are often challenging circumstances. 8/8— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 4, 2019
I was particularly taken by Tweet number 4 of the series. 53% were the first in their family to go to university, 14% received free school meals (compared to 13.6% of the population as a whole)
We monitor social mobility metrics in an anonymised format to understand the educational and socio-economic backgrounds of applicants and to ensure our process is fair for all applicants regardless of background— Police Now (@Police_Now) April 2, 2019
Another Twitter user had already queried this practice and Police Now helpfully provided their response above. My response would be “It is perfectly fair to recruit the BEST candidates regardless of their gender, ethnicity, education level or whether or not they had free School Dinners. If they really want to collect that data then they are free to collect on day one of their training regime, NOT as part of the selection process. Maybe Police Now could inform us what possible reason exists NOT to select the very best candidates? FULL STOP.
They state proudly in Tweet number 5 that 54% are women, and 20% are Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background (compared to 13% of the UK population). I must confess at this point that I do not have the data to corroborate this claim, but am perfectly happy to accept it without challenge. However, the percentages quoted above apply to the officers that they have trained.
Police Now has officially been in existence since December 2015. Their website includes this claim
Police Now’s mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing.
That’s quite a bold claim. Reduce Crime? I think it is generally accepted that crime across England is increasing, not decreasing, so I really don’t see how they can claim that they’ve been successful there.
Increase the Public’s confidence in Policing? I think that has been relatively constant over the last few years, I’m not sure quite how Police Now can claim that they have increased the Public Confidence. The Home Office have helpfully chipped in with this comment regarding Diversity;
Innovative schemes such as Direct Entry and Police Now are making the police workforce more diverse; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.
As Police Now only recruit Police Officers at Constable Rank I shall confine myself to Diversity at that level and how it has been improved. Police Now came into existence in December 2015 and they have helpfully provided me with a link to find the relevant information.
The first set of official statistics after December 2015 is for 31st March 2016, so I will have to use that as my benchmark. At 31st March 2016 there were 6,020 BAME Constables in the Police Forces of England, not forgetting that Police Now did not originally serve the Welsh Forces. Ethnicity data is only published annually in March, so the latest set of comparable data is 31st March 2018. That shows a total of 6,543 BAME Constables in England. An increase of 523. In March 2016 there were 91,583 Constables in the Police Service of England, 6020 were BAME. That is 6.6%.
In March 2018 there were 90,083 Constables in English Forces, 6,543 were BAME. This is 7.3%
In their first two years of operations Police Now, in combination with traditional recruitment increased BAME representation at Constable level by 0.7%
In March 2016 there were 29,562 Female Constables in English Forces. This represents 32.3% of the workforce. In March 2018 that figure had risen to 28,306 out of a total of 90,083. This represents 32.8%.
In their first two years of operations Police Now, in combination with traditional recruitment increased Female representation at Constable level by 0.5%
It’s probably best to leave it to the Academics to come up with a conclusion, after all, I don’t have a degree in anything except Life. However, to my untrained eye, those figures don’t look like a roaring success.
Oh, and I forgot, all this has been achieved on a multi-million pound budget.